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Morgan students engineer class performance


After two class wins for Craig Hamilton Smith, possibly breaking the hoodoo of Tony Hirst, UWR’s AR Morgan Challenge team travelled to Donington for two more rounds of Plus 4 Club Sport action. Joined under the UWR umbrella by Tom Richards, it would be tough to bet against a UWR 1, 2, 3 in class at a circuit that normally treats us kindly.

With qualifying and 2 races all to be done in a single day, the motorsport and automotive engineering students would have to work quickly and efficiently to get all 3 cars on the starting line.

After a quick start to qualifying by Hamilton Smith, a bit of misfortune staggered his chances of qualifying 1st in class as a spinning car nudged Craig, damaging the number 21 car. Hirst capitalised on the opportunity to put the last couple of races behind him and seal P1 in class, while Hamilton Smith showed grit to cling on to P2, just 8-tenths back. Tom Richards qualified P3 in class, showing massive improvement in the car and getting quicker all the time.

Under roiling grey cloud, Race 1 was underway, and it was business as usual for Tony Hirst. He cut through the field smoothly, climbing two places to finish 8th overall while Hamilton Smith showed patience to steal a place and finish 10th. A good return for the Wolves, with Hirst scoring the fastest lap in class.

Again the team worked quickly to prepare 3 cars in little more than 90 minutes for the final race of the weekend. It was a testament to the team’s well-drilled abilities to turn the Morgans around so quickly, and even Mark Evans, Head of AR Motorsport at the Morgan Factory, was impressed by the UWR team, saying “Once again the UWR Motorsport Engineers have prepared the cars brilliantly. Hats off to another strong showing from the team.”

When Race 2 got underway, Hamilton Smith made his intentions clear from the first corner, pushing hard from 10th on the grid to catch Hirst, who began from 8th, the ARV6 of Simon Orebi Gann separating the two Racing Wolves. Across 15 laps of back and forth and strong passing manouevres, Orebi Gann overpowered the Plus 4 Club Sports with the larger engine, climbing from 9th to 6th, leaving Hirst and Hamilton Smith to battle for 7th and 8th place. The two tussled through the fast corners of Donington Park, the cars evenly matched and both drivers determined to take P1 in class. It was to be Hirst who held on by the skin of his teeth, mantaining 7th place, and P1 in class, by less than 2 tenths of a second.

While it was definitely back to winning ways for Tony Hirst, Craig Hamilton Smith was showing no signs of dropping off the pace.

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